Canon EXPO 2010: Canon Says It Has Developed World's Largest CMOS Sensor

AUGUST 31, 2010

Dan Havlik, PDN's Technology Specialist

The Canon Expo show in New York City is just a day away and the company has jumped the gun with some news, saying it has developed "the world's largest CMOS sensor" with a chip measuring 202 x 205mm.

According to Canon, the chip can be produced from a 12-inch wafer and is approximately "40 times the size of Canon's largest commercial CMOS sensor." (The image on this page shows the new jumbo sensor next to a 35mm full-frame CMOS chip.)

Because of its huge size, the chip is "capable of capturing images in one one-hundredth the amount of light required by a professional-model digital SLR camera." Canon did not say what it plans to do with the sensor but potential applications could be for "the video recording of stars in the night sky and nocturnal animal behavior."

You may remember that Canon made a similar announcement just a week ago, saying it has developed "the world's first" 120MP APS-H CMOS sensor. Yes, those are some significant developments, along with the new EOS 60D digital SLR and six new lenses.

What's next at Canon Expo this week and the photokina show in Germany later this month? We'll keep you posted on the PDN Gear Guide.

More details in the press release below.


Canon succeeds in developing world’s largest CMOS image sensor, with ultra-high sensitivity

TOKYO, August 31, 2010 - Canon Inc. announced today that it has successfully developed the world’s largest CMOS image sensor, with a chip size measuring 202 x 205 mm. Because its expanded size enables greater light-gathering capability, the sensor is capable of capturing images in one one-hundredth the amount of light required by a professional-model digital SLR camera.

At 202 x 205 mm, the newly developed CMOS sensor is among the largest chips that can be produced from a 12-inch (300 mm) wafer, and is approximately 40 times the size of Canon’s largest commercial CMOS sensor.

In the past, enlarging the size of the sensor resulted in an increase in the amount of time required between the receiving and transmission of data signals, which posed a challenge to achieving high-speed readout. Canon, however, solved this problem through an innovative circuit design, making possible the realization of a massive video-compatible CMOS sensor. Additionally, by ensuring the cleanest of cleanroom environments during the production process, the sensor minimizes image imperfections and dust.

Because the increased size of the new CMOS sensor allows more light to be gathered, it enables shooting in low-light environments. The sensor makes possible the image capture in one one-hundredth the amount of light required by a 35 mm full-frame CMOS sensor, facilitating the shooting of 60 frame-per-second video with a mere 0.3 lux of illumination.

Potential applications for the new high-sensitivity CMOS sensor include the video recording of stars in the night sky and nocturnal animal behavior.

Through the further development of distinctive CMOS image sensors, Canon will break new ground in the world of new image expression, in the area of still images as well as video.

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